There's a housing estate next to my office, and every day around 3 pm this cacophony of noise begins from the courtyard, bouncing off the prefabricated walls and pouring through our closed office windows. It honestly sounds like a village of women are getting raped and killed. For some reason, the teenage girls here enjoy screaming at the top of their lungs as if they're getting a red hot poker shoved into them. It's so bizarre.
The first time it happened at the office I jumped up and ran to the window, thinking someone was being attacked. I was so confused when the rest of my office just kept calmly sitting at their desks doing their work. They then explained to me that these were just the mating noises of the "hoodies," teenage hoodlums. Apparently everyone here is just used to it by now.
And it's not limited to the housing estate next door. The noises emit from every corner of the city at 3pm. When I was at my flat on Tuesday moving the new bed in at 3pm the same noises came from the courtyard of my own estate. Shrieking, yelping, moans of agony. It's so bizarre.
Now I find it hard to believe that teenagers in London are just by character more obnoxious than those in New York. Yet I've never encountered anything like this in New York. The only instances I can recall that are anything like this is sometimes if you're on the subway around 3pm on the upper east or west side the kids will all pile into the train and be kind of obnoxious, but nothing that even approaches the kids here in London.
But I don't know, I've heard alternative explanations from Brits. Some have said that a lot of kids here are neglected. Others have theorized that because Brits are generally kind of stuffy, the teenagers like to scream and make a big scene as a way or rebelling (whereas they wouldn't get much of a rise out of people if they did it in New York).
But here's what I think it is. I doubt that teenagers here are any more obnoxious than they are in the states. I think the reason that I didn't encounter this kind of behavior in New York is because I was in Manhattan, and most of the kids I encountered there were probably from middle to upper class backgrounds. But because there is much more economic diversity in the geography of London, I'm not insulated from the 'great unwashed' here (I'm using that tongue in cheek!). Again, I have a feeling that if I hung around Flushing, Queens at 3pm I'd see the same sort of behavior.
And here's a somewhat related side note. I have never been in a city with so much puke on the streets! Every day on my walk to work I have to step over at least one puddle of vomit, and this morning I passed by three! A by-product of the binge-drinking culture I suspect, although it was probably spewed by one of those damn hoodies! Maybe they just need a good hug…